Wheat Climbs for a Third Day as Cold Weather Threatens Harvests

Wheat rose for a third day in Chicago, narrowing this quarter’s drop, as frost may have damaged the U.S. winter crop and as cold weather in Europe slows plant development there, threating to lower yields.

Freezing conditions in the U.S. southern Great Plains this week may have damaged growing wheat, forecaster DTN wrote yesterday. U.S. output, including the winter crop, will fall 7.4 percent to 2.1 billion bushels in the year beginning June 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Feb. 22. The country is the world’s biggest exporter of the grain.

“Talk that the recent cold snap in the U.S. southern Plains will cut yield potential supported prices,” Luke Mathews, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), wrote in a report today.

Wheat for delivery in May added 0.2 percent to $7.3825 a bushel by 9:01 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, paring a climb of as much as 0.7 percent. Prices are down 5.1 percent this quarter and up 3.4 percent for March. The grain yesterday touched $7.4075, the highest level for a most-active contract since Feb. 21.

Winter-grain growth in northern France, the European Union’s largest producer, is delayed due to late planting followed by a cold spring, with satellite data indicating a two- week delay, the EU’s crop-monitoring unit said this week.

Barley, Rapeseed

“The cold weather conditions continue to delay the vegetative state of the winter crops such as wheat, barley and rapeseed, mainly in western Europe and England,” Paris-based farm adviser Agritel wrote in a market comment today. “There has to be a clear improvement of the conditions in the coming weeks to avoid a yield loss.”

Milling wheat for delivery in May traded on NYSE Liffe in Paris slipped 0.4 percent to 245.75 euros ($315.27) a metric ton after three days of gains.

Corn for delivery in May fell 0.2 percent to $7.34 a bushel in Chicago on volume that was 15 percent below the 100-day average for that time of day. Futures are set for a 5.1 percent advance this quarter. Soybeans for the same delivery month dropped 0.2 percent to $14.5075 a bushel, heading for a 3 percent quarterly gain.

Chicago floor trading and the Paris market will be closed tomorrow for Good Friday. NYSE Liffe also will be shut April 1 for Easter Monday.

To contact the reporters on this story: Luzi Ann Javier in Singapore at ljavier@bloomberg.net; Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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